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Morning Coffee: 25-year-old Deutsche Bank associate duped naive colleagues. UBS discovers pleasures of Credit Suisse Singapore office

Rashawn Russell had plenty going for him. As a teenager, he was identified as having 'extraordinary leadership potential' by the New York Posse Scholarship, which supported him to attend the High School of Economics and Finance in New York City. From there, Russell went to Babson College in Boston, where he received a Gates Millennium Leadership Scholarship. And when he graduated, he went to work in investment banking at Deutsche Bank in New York City.

But somewhere along the line, things went a bit wrong. After being arrested in April and charged with misappropriating funds from investors, Russell is reportedly now planning to plead guilty to charges of crypto-currency fraud. Some of the people he defrauded were his colleagues at Deutsche Bank.

Aged 25, Russell's pitch was simple. He promised a guaranteed ROI of 25% within three months and "essentially no downside risk." At the height of the crypto boom, he pretended to be raising money for rolling three month crypto investment funds, sending out friendly messages like, "Hey man so normally the next round kickstart [sic] right after the other. I always leave 2 weeks in between ending and starting a new round..." 

12 people thought this sounded great and gave Russell money, including "several colleagues, college friends, and family members of friends." But Russell didn't invest their money at all. He either paid it back to them as fake returns or used it to for gambling, food, loans or Ubers. In total, he's accused of spending $1m.

The charges carry a prison sentence of 20 years. Russell initially pleaded not guilty, but seems to have changed his mind. 

It's not clear who at Deutsche Bank paid into Russell's scam. Presumably it was DB people enamored of crypto, convinced of Russell's prowess, and hoping to increase their 2020 and 2021 bonuses by at least 25%.

Russell, for his part, is a possible gambling addict. Bloomberg reports that while he waited for his trial, he violated the conditions of his bond by going to 'gambling establishments' and using other people's credit cards to access gaming websites. 

It's a sad outcome for a young man who'd traveled a long way. When he went to Babson, Russell said he was a bit concerned about going so far away from home, but that he hoped his friends from the Posse scholarship would make it less stressful. 

Separately, UBS may be compelling Credit Suisse's Singapore staff to vacate their office at One Raffles Link and to move to its own office at Penang Road, but it's also discovered a benefit to the old Raffles Link office at this time of year. 

FiNews reports that the Credit Suisse office has the Formula One track outside, and that Credit Suisse bankers there have long been able to watch the race from conference room windows. UBS's Penang Road office doesn't confer this advantage.

UBS is therefore making the most of its newfound access to the Credit Suisse premises. It's reportedly removed the Credit Suisse logo at the entrance and put up signs stating, 'Credit Suisse AG, a UBS Group company.' While many Credit Suisse bankers in Asia face being laid off, UBS is now entertaining its own clients, who are watching the Singapore Grand Prix from the vantage point of the Raffles Link conference rooms. ✨

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Meanwhile...

Lazard's new CEO Peter Orszag wants to double Lazard’s revenue by 2030 and to hit average total shareholder returns of 10% to 15% a year. Orszag wants Lazard to double in size in the U.S. and Europe, to hire managing directors away from competitors, to push into the Middle East and to make acquisitions in private wealth and private capital. (WSJ)  

While Lazard is hiring more, it also wants to do more blockbuster transactions. “Higher productivity is crucial," says Orszag. (Financial Times) 

Santander just moved 600 people from London to its new office in Milton Keynes. Some 135 staff took redundancy rather than make the move, and those who have will get their travel costs subsidised for three years (the full cost, initially, then 60 per cent and later 30 per cent). (The Times) 

Will Bousquette — previously chief operating officer of global banking and markets — is replacing the popular partner Laurence Stein as the COO of Goldman's asset and wealth management. Bousquette has a reputation as a cost cutter. (NY Post

Kristine Braden, CEO of Citigroup's main operations in continental Europe, is leaving the firm after 25 years. (Reuters) 

R3, a blockchain company backed by Bank of America, is cutting 20% of jobs. (Bloomberg) 

Ray Dalio wants to come back to Bridgewater and has repeatedly brought up the idea of starting a new fund within Bridgewater that he hopes would help improve the firm’s investment returns. This is not popular with anyone else internally. (New York Times)

The highest paid UK graduates are Imperial College computer scientists. They earn an average salary of £64,000 six months after graduation. (The Times) 

A prototypical finance-guy look: A blue Oxford shirt with a fleece or thin nylon vest. Vuori Meta pants. And Wolf and Shepherd shoes. (WSJ) 

Lazy girl jobs are the other new trend. 'It’s opting out of mind-numbing, senseless meetings. It’s demanding companies evolve to the reality of today by offering more flexibility because a lot of jobs don’t need people physically in an office five days a week'  (Bloomberg) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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